The Crusader Newspaper Group

Bills to bring jobs and $300M hotel proceeds

On Tuesday, the Senate approved two major economic development projects and job creation opportunities for Gary and Northwest Indiana. State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) played an instrumental role in the passage of both proposals, but specifically Senate Bill (SB) 66, which passed 43-6.

SB 66 will develop the Buffington Harbor to become a transmodal hub and allow a $300 million casino and hotel to be built on Interstate 80/94 in Gary. The second proposal, SB 552, which deals primarily with gaming matters, was approved by the Senate with a vote of 38-11. This proposal allows Gary’s casino boat to move inland and holds harmless neighboring casinos whose revenue intake may be affected by this transition.

Sen. Melton had the following comments on the passage of the bill:

“This is a monumental day for the City of Gary and Northwest Indiana. The citizens will benefit greatly once this proposal passes out of the House and is signed by the governor. This is truly an opportunity to develop within the footprint of Buffington Harbor and also to attract national and international businesses into Gary due to the proposed partnership between the City of Gary and the State of Indiana.

“This bill was amended earlier on in the process to ensure that local residents and small businesses would be able to participate and compete in the opportunities provided by this legislation. I am also extremely pleased that this bill provides a fair composition of representation of the partnership between the state and the City of Gary.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to work with Senator Ryan Mishler in drafting SB 66 and I look forward to building upon our partnership to help benefit the citizens in my district. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, former State Senator Earline Rogers, and various other stakeholders, must also be thanked for their work in making this historic economic development project possible,” Melton said.

Both proposals now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Sen. Melton represents Indiana Senate District 3 which encompasses portions of Lake County. District 3 communities include Gary, Lake Station, New Chicago, Hobart, Ainsworth, Merrillville and Crown Point. For more information on Sen. Melton, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800 382-9467 or visit

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